Nottinghamshire MP Lee Anderson tells anti-monarchy protestors to 'emigrate'

Nottinghamshire MP Lee Anderson has drawn criticism after telling anti-monarchy protestors to leave the UK. Credit: PA

A senior Tory MP has drawn criticism for telling anti-monarchy activists to leave the UK rather than exercise their right to protest.

Lee Anderson is MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire and deputy chairman of the Conservative Party.

He was commenting on Twitter about the dozens of arrests of protestors throughout the King's coronation day on Saturday (6 May).

The Metropolitan Police has been described as anti-democratic after more than 50 people were arrested for public nuisance and breach-of-the-peace offences during the demonstrations.

Human rights organisations have described the arrests as "a dangerous precedent for us as a democratic nation."

On social media, Mr Anderson appeared to side with the police, and was critical of protestors who were holding up sings reading Not My King near Buckingham Palace.

He shared an article about the arrests on Twitter, and wrote: "Not My King?

"If you do not wish to live in a country that has a monarchy the solution is not to turn up with your silly boards.

"The solution is to emigrate."

The MP has previously written articles about the need for free speech in a civilised democracy.

Critics responded by pointing out the right to protest peacefully.

Jonathan Harris, a Lib Dem councillor in West Northamptonshire, tweeted: "30p Lee - Idiot on display.

"You took the rights away for British people to live and work across the EU, and forget that great democracies are built on and absolutely allow the right to peacefully protest."

Meanwhile Home Secretary Suella Braverman praised the police.

She tweeted: "I'm incredibly grateful to the police for all their hard work at today's Coronation celebration to ensure it was safe & passed without incident."

Bimingham Yardley MP and Labour's Jess Phillips, who is a shadow home office minister, wrote: "Our nation and our King is not so fragile as to not be able to take harmless protest of a different view."

It is not the first time the Ashfield MP has proved controversial, having previously claimed people on Universal Credit were not in poverty.

He was nicknamed "30p Lee" after suggesting people using food banks could not budget and people could prepare meals for just 30 pence.

Under the controversial new Public Order Act, protesters who have an object with the intention of using it to "lock on" are liable to a fine, with those who block roads facing 12 months in prison.